30-Day Film Challenge – Day 1

Posted: June 10, 2021 in Uncategorized
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I saw this on Buzz Dixon’s Facebook and thought it would be fun. Because I don’t want to flood people’s Inboxes for the next month, I’m going to post this first one on my substack, and the rest of them here at mattdursin.com and my facebook, so you can follow along for the next 30 days or however often I end up doing it. I may not even last more than a week. Anyway, here goes:

I’m not sure what’s so challenging, except I might just get busy or run our of ideas, and some of them might not necessarily be films I find interesting or really want to write a lot about, but I usually have something to say about movies, so I’m sure I’ll come up with something. Maybe that will be the challenge.

Day 1: The First film You Remember Watching:

The Black Hole

This was surprisingly difficult (maybe even challenging?) because I at first assumed it was probably Star Wars, or Wizard of Oz on TV, or something along those lines. And perhaps it was, because this is certainly not an exact science, and my powers of recall are certainly not what they once were, but I have very distinct memories of the finale of this movie, and since it was released in 1979, when I would have been three, and Empire Strikes Back (which I know I saw in the theater several timeswas released in 1980, I’m going with this one. I also remember having nightmares about the finale of the movie, when the bad guy falls into the black hole and they show a really creepy close-up of his face. Maybe I thought that since he was in the back hole, he could come find me in my sleep. I don’t know. I was a very small, impressionable child. I also think I had some kind of V.I.N.CENT toy, which is probably worth a ton on eBay now.

If you have never seen this movie, the storyline is pretty simple, for 70’s sci-fi. Courtesy of IMDB.com: “A research vessel finds a missing ship, commanded by a mysterious scientist, on the edge of a black hole.” If you like that kind of thing, it’s worth the watch (In fact, go now if you want to, because I’m going to spoil some of it here. It’s over 40 years old. Do I really have to warn you?) That logline doesn’t really tell you anything about the movie, though, because despite the fact that the movie features Anthony Perkins, Ernest Borgnine and Robert Forster, to me, the real star was V.I.N.CENT, the little robot who is basically R2-D2 and Spock (two of my favorite characters) rolled into one. In fact, in researching this post, I only just now discovered that he was voiced my Roddy McDowell, which makes him infinitely cooler. For those unaware, V.I.N.CENT is actually short for “Vital Information Necessary CENTralized,” which makes no sense at all, but was a cool name for a robot, I guess.

After the fearless crew board the Cygnus to suss out this black hole mystery, V.I.N.CENT is soon joined by another robot, B.O.B. (Bio-Sanitation Batallion, which makes even less sense as an acronym), a sort of beat-up version of himself who tries to warn the V.I.N.CENT and the crew of the impending danger. In the end, he sacrifices himself to save them, but dies kind of happy to have made a friend in V.I.N.CENT.

This is definitely what drew me to the film; the bullied robot who was physically and emotionally abused by his peers had found someone like himself, and he cared about him so much that he gave his life so that his friend could live on. This is really the only message I can take from this movie, because the human characters are honestly pretty lame cardboard cut-outs of sci-fi characters of the era. Little kid Matt Dursin did love seeing small, flying robots stealing the show. When you throw in the fact that the big evil was a bad-ass-looking robot named Maximillion, well, is it any wonder that when Transformers came along a few years later, I was hooked?

In retrospect, was he really that bad-ass looking? Or does he look like a coffee machine?

The real kicker is, despite the fact that I have fond memories of this movie (apart from the nightmares), and it is available to stream on Disney+, I have yet to watch it in its entirety since the early eighties. I remember the day I signed up for Disney+, being really excited to see The Black Hole on there, and turning it on. And then turning it off after about 15 minutes, wanting to see what else was available and figuring I would come back later. I’m not sure if it was the slow-pacing of movies of that time and my short attention span, or the fact that it wasn’t as fun as I remember, or I just didn’t really care. That’s basically how nostalgia works a lot of the time. I really am glad that The Black Hole is available to watch whenever I want, but I’m not sure I will ever go back and watch it. I mean, this country just went through fifteen months where we were basically trapped inside with almost no new entertainment, and I didn’t even think about watching this movie. When will I actually make the time for it? But if it was suddenly taken away for some reason, I would definitely feel sad. That’s how this stuff works, I guess.

The good news is, the 30-Day Film Challenge doesn’t say, “The First Movie You Remember Fondly and Watch Consistently to this Day.” It just asks the first one you remember watching. There was tons more Star Wars, Star Trek, Transformers, Star-Blazers, Force Five and a crap load of other nerdy stuff for a young nerd like me to get into, so the fact that The Black Hole only cracked open the door is enough for me.

So, come back tomorrow for a long-winded post about a movie that starts with the first letter of my name. Will I pick M or D? That’s the challenge! Meanwhile, check out my linktree to find out what else I’m up to. There’s tons of podcasts I’m on here, comics I created here, and t-shirts and stuff I “created” here. It’s all for your consumption!

Thanks for reading and keep on keepin’ on.

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